NFL meetings 2014: Football-like snacks, but you better not dunk them!
The only thing that can be less appealing than a meeting sometimes is a recap of the meeting you were just involved in. The NFL wrapped up some meetings in a warmer place than here this week, so now we’re here to discuss them, and we are a little sorry about that because they are meetings. It’s the offseason but this is the NFL of today: every besuited glacial tip-toe the calendar makes towards training camp needs live coverage because the NFL would like to remind you – not that you at all need the reminding – through rule changes and discussions about possible changes to other rules at future meetings, that it exists and is doing Big, Important Stuff over here, dangit. They also, on the plus side, gave us Andy Reid in Full-On Freakin’ Offseason Chill Mode, which was cool. (h/t Jason Wilde.)
Anyway, here’s the stuff that’s changing with a grade of makes sense or doesn’t make sense: officials can review loose ball recoveries (makes sense), goal post uprights are being raised five feet to make field goals easier to call (makes sense, and hopefully prevents further Bill Belichick chase scenes in the future, though it’s unclear if that’s a good thing), roll up blocks on players’ knees are outlawed (makes sense), the game clock keeps ticking after a sack (it didn’t before? okay then makes sense I guess), officials will be in contact with central replay headquarters in New York, as well as wirelessly with each other on the field (makes sense but walkie-talkies seem like an obviously better option), and finally, the War on Celebrations and Football-As-Prop Injustices wages on, as dunking the football over the crossbar is banned with a capital B.
This makes sense if you just hate it when players emote feelings after doing one of the best things they can do on a football field. It makes sense if you live in constant fear for the day when Jimmy Graham rips down an entire goal post and, with it, tears a hole into an alternate universe that spills out football players who express themselves in the heat of a ridiculously passionate game and wear unauthorized warm-up shirts with no regard for their Brands and shoes for great causes that don’t even match, gosh, or jokesters who pretend to putt a football when EVERYONE KNOWS THAT’S GOLF STOP CHANGING THE CONVERSATION.
Or maybe they are just as bored as everyone else, and are at some meetings in the Florida sun and decided, with all their power, hey, you know what, let’s ban that dunking stuff because our sport was getting out of control, man, and I think if players weren’t dunking over the crossbars so much we’d see an uptick in the sportsmanship category, which we measure with very scientific gauges, and in polite, earnest looks between opposing players on the field. This, surely, will fix what ails us. Also the goal post could bend and boy that would be terrible. Maybe this makes sense. We’re not sure if it makes enough sense to warrant discussion at Very Important Meetings, but we might also be defining these incorrectly, so who knows.
Elsewhere, extra points will be kicked from the 20-yard line for two preseason weeks, making them the most interesting thing about those two preseason weeks but in the grand scheme of football, like, the 347th most interesting thing overall. Seriously: one of the biggest NFL talking points right now is the extra point, because the only way to make something already silly even sillier is to attach importance, and we have, apparently, arrived at our destination where that’s concerned.
The NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen starts tonight, and the NBA and NHL are doing all the pre-postseason revving up that typically starts this time of year. Heck, even the Bucks are engaged in an epic battle of futility with the hard-charging Philadelphia 76ers for the right to have the best odds in the NBA’s Draft Lottery.
Sports are happening out there, that’s the point. The NFL Draft is still more than a month away and not technically a sport, but that sounds pretty good right about now, too. And Mike McCarthy’s optimism is great, and his thoughts on the team’s use of Julius Peppers shed some light and made us more excited to see what plans they have for him and the defense as a whole. That part of these meetings, the fact that coaches have to sit and talk and share information, is a great part of the existence of these meetings. They are not all bad, not at all. This sort of filler is important because, and thank heavens for this, the NFL doesn’t play year-round. We need these catch-ups with coaches and players. They are much-needed football-like snacks that keep us going.
But of course in the end the NFL is at its best when there is football to watch. This is true even when the league tries to make the game more of a corporate get-together between business casual colleagues on a Thursday evening at the local Olive Garden, and less a wildly unpredictable sport played by outrageous athletes with passion that necessarily boils over, or it better, because their jobs are almost always in jeopardy. Even – and especially – now in the offseason, the football is what brings us back. And what else would? You can watch the NFL at all times, sure, but when you’re watching the NFL without the football, this is often what you get.
The short version of all this? The NFL might be bored and is definitely cranky. But, and here’s the real important part, the Lambeau Leap blessedly lives on! So there’s that.
(Also and in full, obvious disclosure: We were able to get a whole post out of the aforementioned meetings right here. Thanks, we guess, for that, NFL. And miss you, football.)